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The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Book of Magic

by Alice Hoffman

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Quick take

The final installment in the "Practical Magic" series is a whirlwind journey of magic, curses, and familial love.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_International



The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.

A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.

The Book of Magic is a breathtaking conclusion that celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.

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The Book of Magic


Some stories begin at the beginning and others begin at the end, but all the best stories begin in a library. It was there that Jet Owens saw her fate in a mirror behind the reference desk. Even in her eighties, Jet was still beautiful. Each day she washed with the black soap the family prepared in March during the dark phase of the moon, with every bar then wrapped in crinkly cellophane. Jet had no aches or pains and had never been ill a day in her life, but fate is fate and it can often be what you least expect it to be. On this day, when the daffodils had begun to bloom, Jet saw that she had seven days to live.

The deathwatch beetle had begun to call from within the walls of the Owens Library, a sound that often went unnoticed until it was so loud it was all a person could hear. When your time came, the black beetle would withdraw from hiding and follow you everywhere, no matter where you went. Its presence meant that the past was over and the future no longer existed. This was the moment that revealed how you had walked through the world, with kindness or with fear, with your heart open or closed. It had take this long for Jet to appreciate that every instant was a marvel. Now everything she saw was illuminated. The sun streaming through the library windows in fierce bands of orange light. A moth tapping at the glass. The sweep of the branches of one of the last elm trees in the commonwealth, which shadowed the library’s lawn. Some people unravel or run for shelter when their time has come, they curse their fate or hide under their beds, but Jet knew exactly what she wished to do in the last days she’d been granted. She didn’t have to think twice.

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Why I love it

I believe. In what, I’m not always sure, but there’s always a pulse of it there. Sometimes it’s that a cup of tea or coffee can cure any mood. Sometimes I believe that the constellations have conspired to steal my luck. The Book of Magic is a book about belief in the most ephemeral things—love, magic, and hope.

Alice Hoffman concludes the story of the Owens family with a joyous cry of a novel. When I opened the first page, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to these witchy women I got to know in the classic Practical Magic. But I returned to their curious house in Massachusetts because it felt like being welcomed home after a long time away. The large cast of characters welcome you and whisper their secrets in prophetic dreams and old spell books waiting for fate to open their pages. Here are three generations of the Owens family doing everything they can to break the curse that has plagued them for over two centuries. But like the wise aunt Jet says, “Everything worthwhile is dangerous.” What is more worthwhile than family and love?

Hoffman’s words are a love song to the people who go against the grain. Those of us who don’t quite fit—witches, rebels, bookworms, free spirits. So, grab a cup of Courage Tea, and a slice of Tipsy Cake, and settle in for an enchanting tale.

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Member ratings (5,729)

  • brett c.

    edmond, OK

    i loved the first 2 so much, i HAD to know the fates of the 3 generations of sisters i’ve come to adore + celebrates love, sacrifice, courage, and family—a beautiful end to the saga of the owens women

  • Kayla A.

    Beulaville, NC

    The magic of the Owens’ and their stories have always been dear to me. This was absolutely wonderful to read in the month of October. From beginning to end Alice Hoffman captures the magic of this fam

  • Amanda K.

    Sioux Falls, SD

    What’s not to like about an Owens’ tale. I would love nothing more than to have an evening in the garden with Franny and Jet, drinking courage tea, and talking about life. I’m going to miss them.

  • Jen C.

    Palatine, IL

    Love the continuation of Alice Hoffman’s Magic series. Characters are well developed but the story line remains similar throughout the various books. Timelines change but the message remains the same

  • Kristin T.

    Murrysville, PA

    Alice Hoffman’s prose is what us really striking in this book - her language is so well crafted. I really enjoyed the storyline of thus one more than the other books in the series - it was fast paced.

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